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Join the Fight to Save Rhinos

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As a whole, the five species of rhinos constitute the most endangered large animals in the world today and this is for one simple reason: humans are killing them at an unsustainable rate to sell their horns on the international black market for use in Traditional Asian Medicine.


By international agreement through CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) it is illegal to trade in rhinoceros, alive or dead, for the purpose of using their horns for medicine. Yet governments around the world continue to turn a blind eye to the illegal sale of rhino body parts in their countries. No where is this more true than in Vietnam and China where rhino horn powder is easily and openly procured by the wealthy and middle class.


Three international studies have proven that rhino horn is made up of little more than keratin, calcium, melanin, and amino acids - the same ingredients found in human hair and nails - and holds zero medicinal properties for humans. Yet based on demand, largely in China and Vietnam, rhino horn is now worth more than its weight in gold and is currently one of the most expensive illegal substances in the world.


Because rhinos do not breed well in captivity, this means that virtually all rhino horn powder sold in the world today comes from illegal methods such as robbery or poaching of live animals carried out in national parks and private game reserves across Africa and Asia. These poaching methods are vicious and violent and leave both humans and animals dead in their wake.


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1. We are respectfully asking the government of China to stop its implicit involvement in this global crisis.

Specifically, we are asking that China give up its state sponsored proposal for the "sustainable use of rhino horn" and that the State Forestry Administration rescind its approval of a “live rhino horn grinding machine” patented by Chinese business magnate Zhang Juyan, who heads the Manchurian-based Hawk Group. While the Hawk Group is primarily a weapons manufacture, its subsidiary company Longhui is involved in a widely publicized plan to import live rhinos for horn harvesting in direct violation of international CITES agreement. As profiled in a June 13, 2011 Time Magazine article, Longhui has already imported over 60 live rhinos from South Africa under the false premise of starting an animal park in Sanyan, Hainan. No such sanctuary exists as such, and yet Zhang Juyan continues to be allowed to import rhinos. The condoning of such activities by the government allow for a national culture of abuse and ambiguity concerning this issue.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2075283,00.html


2. We also respectfully ask the government of Vietnam to uphold its international agreement by enforcing CITES laws inside its own country.

As seen in an April 2011 Dan Rather report for HD Net News, rhino horn powder is not only currently “fashionable” in Vietnam, it is also extremely easy to obtain. We ask that the Ministry of Health in Vietnam do more to quell popular rumors that rhino horn is a cure for cancer and other serious illnesses. This widely held belief does not only a disservice to the Vietnamese people, it is also perhaps the leading cause of the current rhino wars in South Africa which is home to 90% of the world’s remaining rhinos. As profiled in South African newspapers, Time Magazine, and in numerous CITES reports, Vietnamese nationals - including those working for the Vietnamese Diplomatic Department in South Africa - have repeatedly been caught attempting to smuggle large quantities of rhino horn from the country. Rhino horn smuggling has been linked to murder, money laundering, and illegal arms trading, and if the world’s rhinos are to survive, it is up to the Vietnamese government to step in and take a leading role in ending this violent cycle before it's too late.
http://www.hd.net/blogs/excerpt-from-horn-of-africa/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKAvMjnHHEg

3. Lastly, we respectfully ask the Ministry of Justice in South Africa to firmly uphold its anti-poaching and smuggling laws and to better monitor trophy hunting licensing and practices.

Through its intensive and vigilant conservation efforts, both private and public, South Africa has admirably rebuilt its rhino populations far more successfully than any country in the world, but it is currently losing a rhino a day to illegal poaching. While the citizens of South Africa and the Ministry of Environmental Affairs have taken this national crisis very seriously, there is still much to do in terms of strengthening and unifying anti-poaching laws throughout the country's varied provinces. As profiled in the March, 2011 cover story of Africa Geographic, poachers and game rangers who act illegally are more likely to receive a nominal fine than see jail time - hardly a deterrent to lucrative criminal activity - and sentencing is widely uneven and inadequate throughout the country. We ask that the Justice Department develop a cohesive mandatory sentencing policy throughout the nation.
http://www.africageographic.com (Covers stories March, 2011 and July, 2011)
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/africa-geographics-stop-killing-rhinos-petition/

CITES REPORTS
Nov 20, 2009 ... rhino trophies to Vietnamese nationals who had previously been identified in ongoing rhino crime investigations; the repeated involvement of ...
www.cites.org/common/cop/15/doc/E15-45-01A.pdf

Increasing and highly organized role of Vietnamese nationals. Distribution of rhino poaching incidents, primary trade routes ...
www.cites.org/common/cop/14/inf/E14i-41.pdf

One apprehended Vietnamese national claimed diplomatic immunity...
www.cites.org/eng/cop/14/doc/E14-54.pdf



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